Yesterday, USA Cycling announced that it is taking out the criteriums out of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) to create the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) in 2012.
A dozen or so “marquee” criteriums are expected to bid to join the new calendar, while the NRC will continue with only one-day races, stage races and omnium including the UCI .2 races.
The release also adds that ‘USA Cycling will continue to carefully manage date conflicts for both the NRC and NCC. All of the NCC races will be included on the UCI Criterium calendar, which presently allows ProTeam and Pro Continental team riders to compete in those events.’
The 2011 NRC included 27 events (after cancellations) divided into 13 crits, two one-day road races, five omniums and seven stage races. 16 events awarded points to men and women, nine to men only and three to women only. (Note one event was an omnium for men and a crit for women).
The 13 crits on the 2011 NRC are: Sunny King Criterium, Dana Point Grand Prix, Tour de Grove, Tour of Somerville, Base Camp Intl p/b Verizon Wireless, Glencoe Grand Prix p/b AT&T, Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, Boise Twilight, Tour de Nez, Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium, Grand Cycling Classic, Chris Thater Memorial and CapCrit p/b WCSA.
Currently, there are no prizes nor leader’s jersey associated with the NRC standings. Nor is the NRC winner, individual or team, granted automatic invitation to the big race(s) the following year.
There is a criteriums series with prizes and leaders’ jerseys, the USA Crits Series. The series, in its fifth year, includes nine crits over the USA with six of those races already on the NRC in 2011.
And in 2011, the seven races on the USACrits Speedweek were added to the NRC, as an omnium.
The USA Crits also has an series podium at the end of each event, where the Series Leaders’ Jerseys (by Champion System) are awarded to the overall leader, the best young rider, lap leader and the most aggressive rider.
Contrast to the NRC, where the leader and team classification leader are announced via a press release, typically on each Tuesday.
In the USA Crits series, there’s a concept of Division I teams. 11 men’s and two women’s teams receive series-wide benefits, including housing, meals, and entry at each race, and are promoted in USA CRITS’ media sponsors and social media sites.
In USA Cycling model, non-UCI teams – teams that are not registered with USA Cycling as Continental, Pro Continental or Pro Tour – have to pay to be included in the NRC team standings.
And the USA Crits leaders are called up at their events. The NRC leader is not always called up at events in that calendar.
This leads me to the question: Why the splitting up of the disciplines? Is USA Cycling looking into awarded prize money and leaders jersey? Or is it just another calendar with press release?
What are we missing?
What are your thoughts? Should there be another calendar?